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Stefan Kürten
Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Chérie Turner


Stefan Kurten, ''We Are All Made of Stars,'' 2013, ink and acrylic on linen, 59 1/8 x 47 1/4''.

 

Continuing through October 12, 2013

 

A large show of moody but luminous paintings on paper and linen populate the current solo exhibition by Dusseldorf-based artist Stefan Kürten. The paintings, of which there are over thirty, primarily feature both interiors and exteriors of homes as well as commercial buildings. While signs of daily life are visible — books, chairs, well-trimmed lawns — no people are present. A well-appointed environment awaits their arrival. (The one outlier regarding subject is a small work featuring two medium size poodles.) 

 

While the palette is somber, with yellowy-brown sepia-like tones dominating, the use of carefully layered gold paint produces an understated shimmer that brings the works to light. And indeed, given a few moments, the paintings begin to emit a glow. Take a few steps back, and the work gains greater depth, all this pointing to a fine talent for handling paint and composition. Further, the sepia tones give the impression of these being old Polaroids. From afar, they appear to be photorealistic, down to being yellowed with age. Adding to this nostalgic bent are the subjects, many featuring a midcentury suburban Southern California aesthetic. Here we are presented with a look back to a moment of great optimism and prosperity, now sadly and metaphorically faded. 


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